16:00 No, former Labour leader Ed Miliband has not offered his services as stock image model for health conditions up to Pulse as yet… And he is probably unlikely to do so, as it seems a US news network accidentally used a picture of him blowing his nose at the 2011 Labour Party Conference in a segment highlighting flu risks…
— Sky News (@SkyNews) December 19, 2016
14:45 A study has fund that children will benefit the most from a reduction of sugar in the sweetest drinks on the market, reports the BBC.
Researchers have predicted a modest by significant overall impact from the introduction in the UK of a sugar levy on soft drinks from April 2018.
They estimated that if sugar in the sweetest drinks were reduced by one third and mid-sugar drinks by 15%, this could result in 140,000 fewer obese children and adults; 269,000 fewer cases of tooth decay; and 19,000 fewer cases of type-2 diabetes.
And under-18s were expected to benefit most as they consume the most sugary drinks.
But the lead author of the study, published in the Lancet Public Health Journal study manufacturers could react in a variety of ways to the levy, including passing on the cost or reducing sugar levels.
Dr Adam Briggs, lead author of the study and from the University of Oxford, said: ‘We must therefore be vigilant to ensure the food industry acts to remove sugar from soft drinks, and that where the tax is passed on to consumers, it increases the price of targeted products only – drinks with high levels of sugar.’
11:05 A draft quality standard being consulted on by NICE suggests GPs should send more patients for liver investigation based on heavy drinking.
This includes ‘harmful’ drinkers who consume more then three and a half bottles of wine a week for women (35 units), and more than five bottles of wine a week for men (50 units), reports the BBC.
This comes as Public Health England says nearly two million people are drinking at harmful levels.
Prof Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive of NICE, said: ’Many people with liver disease do not show symptoms until it is too late.
’If it is tackled at an early stage, simple lifestyle changes or treatments can be enough for the liver to recover. Early diagnosis is vital, as is action to both prevent and halt the damage that drinking too much alcohol can do.’
09:30 One in three patients who die by suicide has sought help from their GP, but long waits for specialist treatment is hampering the aid doctors can offer patients, a report has warned.
The House of Commons Health Committee’s interim report from its inquiry into suicide prevention said: ’Approximately one third of people who end their lives by suicide are in contact with their GP preceding their death, but are not receiving specialist mental health services.’
It added: ‘There are serious concerns about the ongoing long waits after referral from primary care to specialist services and we urge the Government to address in its suicide prevention strategy how this situation will be improved.’
But the report also suggested GPs should have more training when it comes to determining patients’ risk of suicide.
It said: ’To help people who are in contact with primary care services, GPs need better training in suicide risk. NICE guidelines should be promoted and implemented across primary care.’